Sunday, February 8, 2015
If a wireless network has a low signal strength, the transfer of information across the network could be slow or you might not be able to access certain parts of the network. Here are solutions to some common problems with low wireless signal strength:
Your computer is too far from the wireless router or access point.
Move your computer closer to the router or access point. If your computer is portable, try moving it around to determine the range of the wireless signal and the best place to use the computer.
If you can't get closer to the router or access point, consider buying and installing an external antenna for your wireless network adapter. Many wireless network adapters are set up so that you can attach an external antenna to them, which provides better reception than the built-in antenna. Check the information that came with your wireless network adapter to see if you can install an additional antenna.
The wireless router or access point is turned off or isn't working properly.
There are two things to try:
Make sure the router or access point is turned on and that the wireless signal light is illuminated.
Reset the router or access point by turning it off, waiting at least 10 seconds, and then turning it back on.
If you don't own the access point or don't manage the network, contact the network administrator.
There is interference from other devices.
If you have 802.11b or 802.11g network hardware, it uses the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) frequency. Other devices that use this frequency include microwave ovens and cordless phones. If you have 802.11a network hardware, it uses the 5 GHz frequency. Some cordless phones also use this frequency. These devices can cause interference between your computer and the network.
There are two things you can try in this situation:
If any devices like these are near your computer, turn them off temporarily or move them farther away.
Change the router or access point settings to use a different wireless channel, or set the channel to be selected automatically if it's set to a fixed channel number. Sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. In the United States and Canada, you can use channels 1, 6, and 11. Check the information that came with your access point or router for instructions about setting the wireless signal channel.
The network you're looking for is set to not broadcast its network name (SSID).
Wireless routers and access points can be set up so that they don't broadcast the network name. In this case, you can't detect that the network is in range (in order to connect to it) unless you've previously connected to the network or you manually connect to the network using the service set identifier (SSID). To connect to a network that's not broadcasting, follow these steps:
Open Connect to a Network by clicking the network icon ( or ) in the notification area.
Click Unnamed Network, and then type the network information.
The network will be added to your list of networks and will be available to connect to in the future when your computer is in range of the network.
8 Ways to Fix a Weak WiFi Signal
In just a decade, WiFi signal has become almost as essential as food, water, and shelter. A weak signal can be a modern day nightmare. Poor loading times and lost connections can test your patience while browsing the internet. This guide will help you understand why your WiFi signal can become weak and how to improve it cheaply.
Get a Modern Router
I just moved and recently got cable. The Internet installer laughed, pointed, and mocked my wireless B router. I had no idea I was using caveman technology. Apparently WiFi speeds are much slower on wireless A, B, and G routers. Wireless N is all the rage when you want the fastest speeds possible. You will need both an N router and an N card in your computer for maximum speed.
Check for Router Updates
While not as annoyingly frequent as app updates, router manufactures sometimes issue stability resolutions via driver updates. Go to the manufactures website to download all new maintenance updates and changes.
Don’t Hide Your Router
Routers can be disgusting looking things and your first instinct is to hide it behind your television or in a box. Resist that urge as a wide open router, clear of obstructions and with antennas pointed upwards, will perform better. Make sure the router is relatively close to where you’ll be using the WiFi.
Change WiFi Channel
Wireless routers broadcast on numerous different channels, similar to radio stations. It can cause buildup and static if a lot of people are on the same channel. Newest routers feature automatic channel selection. If you have an older model, test and try another channel to see if you experience less interference.
Use the free Wifi Analyzer Android app to pick the best channel for your router. The app works great by scanning immediate channels and helping you find a less crowded channel. Move the router around the house to maybe find an even better channel.
For iPhone users, check out the $4 WiFi Explorer app to help find the right channel. Quickly identify channel conflicts, signal overlapping or configuration problems that may be affecting the connectivity and performance of your home or office wireless network. Get an insight into network details like name (SSID), MAC address (BSSID), device manufacturer, signal strength (RSSI), noise, channel, band, security configuration, supported data rates and much more.
Use Two Routers
Even if you have a fast connection, too many electronics can often overwhelm your WiFi. Using two routers can be very beneficial. Take advantage of the free (or cheap) router your cable provider gave you and use it as an access point. This is useful for a home entertainment system or a game console that can be constantly plugged in via Ethernet cables, leaving the WiFi for your smart phones and laptops.
Kick Your Neighbors Offline
Your freeloading neighbors will now have to search elsewhere. WPA encryption is much harder to hack than WEP, so go with WPA for your password. You can check if someone other than you is using your WiFi. Make sure your network, gaming console, and everything else using the Internet is turned off. Look to see if the wireless light is still blinking. If so, you may have a leech (or worse, a potential hacker) to deal with.
Use a program like MoocherHunter, which is used by police in some countries, to find real-time users of your wireless network.
Buy a Range Extender
If your WiFi is having trouble reaching all ends of your house or large office, consider buying a range extender. A basic $50 extender should do the trick. This probably won’t make your WiFi any faster, but at least you’ll have Internet access in the basement and attic. You can also create a DIY extender, but I am certainly no expert on that.
Do a Speed Test
If you have followed most of these steps, and still don’t see an improvement, check out what kind of speeds you are getting at Speedtest.net. If the speed is significantly lower than what you are paying for, discuss this matter with your cable provider. Sometimes cable providers throttle down your Internet performance so they can hit you with a bandwidth usage fee. Research your provider and consider switching to a company who doesn’t limit your Internet speeds.
There’s plenty of more tricks and tips for faster WiFi speeds, like using a beer can. Do you have any WiFi hacks to share with the class?
Posted by Nilan at 10:08 PM
Resolving poor wireless signal
There are a few factors why your wireless device is getting low or poor signal from the router. This article will guide you on how to resolve these issues.
Low or poor signal is mainly caused by six (6) major factors:• Distance problems
• Physical obstructions
• Wireless interferences
• Transmit rate on the wireless router
• Outdated firmware on the router
• Power outage
Wireless devices have limitations when it comes to their signal range. For devices running on 2.4 GHz, the range can go up to 100-150 feet (30-46 meters). If your wireless network devices are too far from each other, consider relocating the devices. Remember that distance is directly proportional to signal strength. The farther you are from the access point, the weaker the signal.
To check if you’re getting a stable connection, perform a continuous ping. If you’re getting replies most of the time, this means the connection is stable. If time outs are occurring frequently, the connection is not that stable. For instructions on how to perform a continuous ping on your computer, see the article below:
To get the best connection, you may need to find ways to move your computer closer to the center of the router’s range. When choosing an area where the router will be placed, ensure that it is well ventilated.
Wireless networks are also susceptible to obstructions that may lead to low signal. Oftentimes, the signal gets reflected, refracted, or absorbed by the obstruction.
Common obstructions are:
• Cabinets or drawers
• Mirrors, Glasses
• Metal Objects
• Thick walls and ceilings
If you have any of these objects between your wireless adapter and access point, consider relocating your access point somewhere high to get around the obstruction.
Routers have a default broadcast range that is dependent on their wireless networking standard (Wireless -B, -A, -G, -N, -AC draft) and the wireless signals broadcasted by the router may not be able to completely penetrate thick walls and other common obstructions.
Also, you may use a Linksys range extender or Powerline to boost the signal of your router if you have a big area and there are a lot of obstructions between your router and the wireless device. For more information about how to expand your network using Powerline adapters, click here.
Common sources of interference are:
• Neighboring wireless networks
• Microwave ovens
• 2.4 GHz cordless telephones
• Bluetooth® devices
• Wireless baby monitors
To solve the problem, change the channel and SSID on your access point. Preferred channels to use are 1, 6, 9 and 11 since they’re considered as non-overlapping channels.
The 802.11b/a/g/n standards use the 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz) band. With this frequency, 802.11b/a/g/n equipment may encounter interference from microwave ovens, cordless telephones, Bluetooth® devices, and other appliances using the same band. To learn how to change your wireless router’s channel, see the article below:
You can also select the 40 MHz channel width on your 2.4 GHz network to improve the performance of your Wireless-N network. However, this is only advisable if you are in a location less crowded with wireless networks. It is also important to note that in order for your wireless devices to connect to the network, they need to have a Wireless-N network adapter that is compatible with the 40 MHz wireless channel. The latest versions of Linksys Wireless-N adapters can connect to a 2.4 GHz network with 40 MHz radio band.
QUICK TIP: The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Routers have the 40 and 80 MHz Channel widths in the 5.0 GHz network.
If you are not sure about the settings, it is best to leave it at its default settings. The channel width is set to Auto by default. This automatically defines the best wireless channel for your wireless network.
Changing the Transmit Rate on the router allows the device to work at a specific speed for wireless transmissions. The default Transmit Rate is Auto with a range of 1 to 54 Mbps.
The rate of data transmission should be set depending on the speed of your wireless network. You can select from a range of transmission speeds or keep the default setting, Auto. This will allow the router to automatically use the fastest possible data rate and enable the Auto-Fallback feature, which will negotiate the best possible connection speed between the router and a wireless client.
NOTE: If the transmit rate on the router or the adapter is not set to Auto, the Auto-Fallback feature will be disabled. If the Auto-Fallback is disabled, you will not be able to experience the maximum range of the wireless router as it will not be able to adapt to the environment’s condition.
Linksys does NOT recommend changing the transmit rate of the router other than the default value since it will shorten the range of the wireless network as shown in the sample diagram below.
If you can't get connected into your router after changing the transmit rate to AUTO, try to change the transmit rate manually by using the router’s web-based setup page. You can do this by accessing the router’s web-based setup page, then click on Wireless > Advanced Wireless Settings. You can set your preferred rate on the Transmission Rate drop-down.
Outdated firmware on the router can sometimes cause connection issues in your network. To fix this, you need to upgrade the firmware of your router. To properly do this, click here. For a video on how to upgrade the router’s firmware, click here.
One factor that may also trigger the poor performance or loss of wireless signals coming from the router would be power/electricity interruptions. If you are not able to acquire any wireless signal after a power outage, you may powercycle the router by unplugging and re-plugging the power cord from the power outlet for 10 seconds.
However, if the powercycle still does not resolve the problem, you may need to reconfigure the wireless settings of your router. Refer to the links below for more information:
Posted by Nilan at 10:05 PM